The Helsinki Mother and Child Home Association (Helsingin ensikoti ry) is an NGO that produces child welfare services under the Child Welfare Law in Finland. In 1936 some politically active ladies founded this association in order to build a home for unmarried mothers and their babies for the first months after the baby was born. Nowadays we produce institutional and non-institutional (residential and open care) child welfare services for families who are expecting or have a baby or have little children and who are in crisis or need extensive support in parenthood and managing everyday life. The main purpose for us is to support the parent so that the baby gets the care she/he needs.
The Mother and Child Home in Helsinki has two family units: Balanssi and Triangeli. They can take 14 families altogether. A family can be one pregnant woman or one or two parents with one or more infants. We have two Mother and Child Homes for substance abusing pregnant women and families with infants; one in Helsinki and the other one in Espoo (each for five families).
We also have one day-time group for mothers with a child under two years old. The group is for families who need support and care in the field of early interaction and attachment problems between mothers and babies. For substance abusing families we have one open care unit in Helsinki and another in Espoo.
After rehabilitation period we can offer supportive care work for families at their own home. The care provided in residential unit is based on a plan composed together with the client, the municipal social worker and the counselor named to the family and the social worker of the unit.
Our main goal is a good early interaction. Our goal is also to give the parents skills in childcare and upbringing, and skills to have a safe everyday life as a family by the time they will move to their own home.
Every family and child has a named counselor. In order to carry out the plan for the rehabilitation period the counselor helps and supports the parent, observes the early interaction and caretaking of the baby and gives feed-back to the parent. In order to support the early interaction we use e.g. videotaping and Theraplay.
We intend to form a therapeutic community in the residential units. The families share the responsibility of the fluent every day life (e.g. cooking) and try to make decisions together with the help of the staff. Some of the methods we use are: peer groups, music therapy and different activities as excursions and trips.
Some of the parents are very young, so called teen parents. Some of our clients are immigrants. The clients face different kind of problems in their lives, such as mental, emotional and social problems. Many of the parents in their childhood have lived with parents who have e.g. substance abuse, mental problems and difficulties managing their every day life. Due to this they need day and night support to take care of the baby and themselves. In many cases this is essential to insure the baby’s safety.
For more information:
Helsingin ensikoti ry
Ensi-Kodin tie 4, 00510 Helsinki
Tel. +358 9 7742460